Benedict XVI celebrating Corpus Christi in Rome – Communion at kneeler & on the tongue

The Holy Father is celebrating the Mass of Corpus Christi in Rome.

Remember… today is Corpus Christi, not Sunday, in the traditional Roman calendar.

His sermon, in Italian.

There will be a procession with the Blessed Sacrament at the end of Mass to St. Mary Major.

He is moving along at a good pace.  I think he is aware of the length of this celebration.

It is in Italian.

Something fantastic has occurred!

For Holy Communion from the Holy Father, a kneeler has been set in place before His Holiness and people are kneeling and receiving on the tongue.














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  1. Geoffrey says:

    Did you see?! Did you see?! People knelt to receive Holy Communion from the Holy Father! They used a kneeler! Excellent idea for churches with no communion/altar rails. I am told that’s how they do it in Opus Dei chapels. So simple! It didn’t take any additional time, etc. I pray this catches on fast!

  2. Lauren says:

    I’ve missed seeing the faithful receive Holy communion :( For anyone interested, replays on EWTN are at 5/22/08 11:30 PM ET & 8:30 PM PT. The procession w/ the truck has started :D

  3. RobNY says:

    Fr. Z,

    If Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating the ordinary form Mass, then why is he celebrating Corpus Christi according to the traditional calender? Is the Sunday setting of Corpus Christi just something the American bishops did? Thanks.


  4. Jon says:


    The Holy Father used Eucharistic Prayer II though, which is disappointing especially considering it’s Corpus Christi. But the kneeler is fine compensation.

    Re the audio file anti-spam – I had to turn off EWTN to hear it, so that’s a thumb’s down. Also, your delivery of the letters military-style immediately reminded me of the scene in “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie locks himself in the bathroom to unravel the Little Orphan Annie decoder mystery only to find it means “DRINK MORE OVELTINE.”

  5. Tony says:

    Rob –

    Not just in the US, but Corpus Christi is still today rather than Sunday in the General Roman Calendar, and is celebrated today in Rome and in other places where the bishops still love Jesus. Individual conferences of bishops have chosen to move it to Sunday, for God knows what reason.

  6. Fr. B. Pedersen says:

    Brick by brick!!!!!!

  7. RobNY says:



    Although I’m a little downcast about this. I’ve been planning on going to an extraordinary form Mass this Sunday, and I was hoping to catch a feast day. I think I’ll survive.

    “and in other places where the bishops still love Jesus”

    Ouch! Haha.


  8. Marko says:

    From a funny movie: THANK YOU GOD!

    Seeing the kneeler and Communion given on the tongue is what makes my heart jump from JOY! This was exactly what I had to fight for just this spring with our Cathedral pastor: to make it possible for my God-daughter to be allowed (!) to receive First Communion on the tongue. And now the Holy Father is giving THE example. How lovely this all is. I just hope this would be made obligatory for First Communion catechesis in the whole Church.

    Please pray for our Corpus Christi Mass and Procession in our Cathedral in Helsinki on Sunday so that all would go well. It will be broadcast live on national television!

  9. Actually, ironically, Corpus Christi is celebrated on Sunday in Rome–but on Thursday in the Vatican, and the papal basilicas are technically in the Vatican.

  10. Michael says:

    Not sure how I feel about the truck driven papal float. Reminds me a little too much of the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade when Santa Claus comes by on his sled at the very end. Here’s a photo of the old Roman procession. It’s in the morning too!

  11. Tony says:

    My parish is actually is celebrating Corpus Christi on Sunday in both forms, so if you are anywhere near Philadelphia:

  12. Jackie says:

    Lovely, just lovely. Out of curousity who are the gentlemen in picture # 6

  13. prof. basto says:


    Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi not only in the Extraordinary form but also in the Ordinary Form, according to the General Roman Calendar.

    However, regarding the Ordinary Form, Conferences of Bishops are permitted, with the approval of the Holy See, to transfer the celebration of the feast to the next Sunday. And that’s what happened in the US.

    That, however, does not change the fact that, also in the Ordinary Form, the Universal Church, and the Church in Italy, celebrate Corpus Christi on Thursday. That’s why the Pope is celebrating Corpus Christi Mass today. It is no different than what happened in Rome in previous years — except for the great improvements in the liturgical style of the Papal Mass, such as the wonderful introduction of kneelers, etc.

    Here in Brazil, also, Corpus Christi is being celebrated today, and it is a national holiday.

  14. Padre Steve says:

    Thanks for the great images! Happy Feast of Corpus Cristi! God bless! Padre Steve

  15. Judy says:

    If Corpus Christi were celebrated on Thursday in the US, it would be pretty much ignored by most people who don’t go to daily Mass. It’s not a holy day of obligation in this country so not many people would go to daily Mass. Because the Bishops transferred the Feast to Sunday, it will be celebrated by all. For this we must be thankful rather than throwing darts at the bishops.

  16. Geoffrey says:

    I would think that if Corpus Christ is transferred to Sunday, there should be no reason for parishes to not have processions. I have yet to see one in my diocese.

  17. Michael says:

    Corpus Christi processions were held on Sunday long before the Council in the US. It’s treated as an External Solemnity, and both the Institute and the Fraternity parishes near my house are having their processions on Sunday so that more people can attend. The liturgy of Corpus Christi is celebrated today.

  18. Romulus says:

    If Corpus Christi were celebrated on Thursday in the US, it would be pretty much ignored by most people who don’t go to daily Mass.

    Abusus non tollit usum.

  19. Ioannes says:

    I think using the second eucharistic prayer with the description of dew does a nice job of picking up the manna reference in the 1st reading. Generally I prefer the Roman Canon as well.

    I agree with Judy. To my mind Corpus Christi is different from Ascension Thursday or the feast of the Presentation in the traditional calendar which have their traditional places due to biblical sources. Although the symoblism of observing Corpus Christi on the same day of the week as the Last Supper is admirable where the day can be a public holiday, the placement is somewhat arbitrary in comparison to the placement of the other observances. I would think it is preferable for people in places like the U.S. not to miss out. Would that the processions in the U.S. were more widespread! Maybe it’s time to put bugs in pastors’ ears for next year.

  20. When I was chaplain on USS Dwight D Eisenhower I used a kneeler and so made clear to all who chose to receive kneeling that they were welcome to do so. A no-brainer. Also had naugahyde covers sewn for foam pads so all would feel encouraged to kneel on hard foc’sle deck where Sunday Masses were celebrated.
    See photo of EF Holy Mass on US Theodore Roosevelt @ where the faithful are encourage to kneel to receive our Lord as is done in Rome.
    Laudamus Domino semper!

  21. Fr. B. Pedersen says:

    According to the Ordo provided by the Fraternity of St. Peter:

    “Permission to observe the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the following Sunday (May 25, 2008) is granted to the United States by indult of Pope Leo XIII. Mass is that of the feast. The Votive Mass of the Most Holy Eucharist (II class) may be celebrated on any day during the seven days following the feast. A procession of the Blessed Sacrament must follow the Mass. Two such occasions are allowed.” (FSSP Ordo 2008) pg. 30)

  22. Tony says:

    “If Corpus Christi were celebrated on Thursday in the US, it would be pretty much ignored by most people who don’t go to daily Mass.”

    That’s because the hierarchy has failed us for 40 years and has allowed a minimalist mindset to overrun the Church. If people were taught the Catholic faith in Catholic churches, that would not be the case.

  23. EDG says:

    This is thrilling! When I go to Mass at many places in Spain, they just bring out a kneeler. Actually, they bring out two and put them side by side in front of the celebrant. That way one person can be kneeling down while the other is getting up, and it makes things move along very quickly.

  24. Lacrimaurm Valle says:

    I wish I could have been there.

    Oh, how I WISH I could have been there.

  25. Corboy says:

    Wonderful photos, thanks Fr.

  26. dear father z

    what a joy for many of us catholic priests to see the holy father being so courageous to bring us back to tradition and reverence. i’ll be the happiest priest alive when we could get back to receiving holy communion on the tongue and kneeling down we eagerly await that glorious day please God. father m

  27. I am celebrating a first communion Mass for Italian NATO families in VA in June and am inspired by these events and our Holy Father’s example to instruct them to kneel for their first reception of the Eucharistic Lord.

    Should we not allof us always follow our consciences? Would not the face of the Church change overnight?

    Benedicite Domino semper!

  28. Willebrord says:

    Amazing. I never would have guessed some years back that there would be a kneeler at a papal mass.

    By the way, does anyone know if the gentlemen in picture #26 (I think) are members of the Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP)? The habit seems right (Cross of St. James), but I don’t recognize the cape, which is on the left shoulder. Maybe they have a different cape in the Italian TFP.

  29. TJM says:

    Wow, all I can say is wow. I am so glad to be living in the Benedictine Era. Tom

  30. Joannie says:

    I was there last night… and a beautiful night it was!! Of course, you all probably saw much more of the Mass than I did (the only downside of being at large Papal liturgies), but the Holy Father passed right by me during the Eucharistic Procession, and then we all followed him down Via Merulana. Such a wonderful night– the streets were packed- and all for Jesus!!

  31. MPod says:

    I myself wish this feast was observed on Thursday AND as a holy day of obligation, but I cannot imagine that our Blessed Lord would be pleased with the reckless accusation that the bishops of our country, fail as they have at times in their pastoral leadership, do not “love Jesus” because of their prudential decision to transfer this solemnity to Sunday, a decision given to them and confirmed by the Holy See. The rationale of their decision cannot properly be judged as proportionate to their love of the Son of God.

    I vehemently disagree also with their decision to effectively reduce the number of Solemnities of Precept through the “Saturday/Monday” exception, and it feels just plain dumb to celebrate Ascension on the “forty-third” day of Eastertide. But again, such unfortunate decisions do not provide just cause to accuse them of not loving our Blessed Lord.

  32. rcesq says:


    Picture number 26 is of two gentlemen; I don’t know what their vesture represents. Picture number 28 of the group of gentlemen in white capes with berets are Knights of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The red cross is the Cross of Godfrey of Bouillon or the Jerusalem Cross, depicting the five wounds of Christ.

  33. Innocenti says:

    Fr. Cusick-

    In light of the destruction of belief in the True Presence brought about in large part by the banality with which the Blessed Sacrament is treated and approached, you are more than justified in asking that people kneel for communion and receive on the tongue. You may be saving their soul in the long run.

    Now how about throwing in an Ad Orientem Mass with a Latin canon just for good measure? Then again, you could go just a little further and offer the Mass of the Saints, pure and unadulterated . . .

  34. D. S. says:

    laudetur&glorificetur Altissimum Sacramentum!

    Very interessting detail: women/girls wearing veils/mantillas!

    To Jon: Yes, the kneeler is great. But this is no “compensation” for using the II. Eucharistic prayer. In such important and earnest/grave matters you can´t caluclate and quantify like this: “well, one very bad thing, another very good thing, so we have compensation (so result is neutral or good).”
    (And to Ioannes: the II. prayer is really bad!)

    No, that would be wrong hegelian dialectical thinking. The matter is to important and grave to think that way.

    In Cho per Mam

  35. ALL: I am fairly certain that the 2nd Eux Prayer was used to help keep the whole ceremony a little shorter. It was over 2.5 hours from start to finish as it was.

  36. D. S. says:

    Rev. F.:

    What an argument… ! (Puh!)

  37. techno_aesthete says:

    Willebrord, the gentlemen in picture #26 are the Heralds of the Gospel.

  38. Franciscus says:

    To those decrying the fact that the United States celebrates it on Sunday, note that it was Leo XIII who granted the indult. It isn’t some post-Vatican II abuse – just a prudential decision on the part of a very, very good Pope. The reason being that many (Protestant) employers are reluctant to let their Catholic employees attend, and thus expect said employees to fill in their regular workday, which in America often means missing Mass. On Sunday, we have no such contraints.

    By the by, here in San Bernardino County, just one mile from Mahonyland, we have a Corpus Christi procession – the Hispanic and Filipino immigrants would have been enraged otherwise.

  39. In Mahonyland there will be a procession after each Mass at least at my parish. (St. Thérèse)

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